Darren Clarke carded a second consecutive round of 68 at Royal Lytham and St Annes to sit two shots off the lead at the halfway stage of The Senior Open Presented by Rolex.
The Northern Irishman, the 2011 Champion Golfer of the Year, is bidding to become just the fourth player in history to win both The Open and The Senior Open and in doing so joining the elite trio of Bob Charles, Gary Player and Tom Watson.
He is also aiming to become the first player to win The Senior Open on their first attempt since Paul Broadhurst lifted The Senior Open Trophy in 2016.
“I played nicely,” said Clarke. “Just the start was a little bit so-so but I kept giving myself chance after chance around the back side, didn’t really make any, and then unfortunately missed a short one on the last which always stings a little bit. The way my swing feels and the way I’m striking the ball, I’m very pleased with.”
American Wes Short Jr birdied the final three holes to reach six under par, one stroke ahead of fellow countryman Scott Dunlap.
In the hunt for his second Senior Major title of the season is two-time Major Champion Retief Goosen, who shares fourth place with Bart Bryant and Ken Duke on three under par.
Also inside the top 10 are Senior Major Champions Roger Chapman and Colin Montgomerie – who are also bidding for their first Senior Open victories – and former champions Broadhurst and Bernhard Langer. They are among eight golfers on two under par.
However, Fleetwood’s Ian Taylor missed the cut by one shot after finishing six over.
Having completed his weather-interrupted first round on Friday morning, Taylor shot a level par 70 but it wasn’t good enough to prolong his involvement.
Also missing out was Ian Crowther, who finished 15 over par after following his opening 78 with a second round of 77.